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 How Not to Freeze to Death

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Mada

Mada

Posts : 1024
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PostSubject: How Not to Freeze to Death   How Not to Freeze to Death EmptyMon Nov 09, 2020 10:01 pm

Alki hopped from foot to foot, whimpering as she shivered. Arceus, she really should have brought something warmer than this flimsy little cloak. It billowed in the wind, much to the balloon pokemon's frustration. Why wouldn't it just stay put? She needed the warmth the cloak was supposed to offer! At the very least, she reminded herself, she knew a fire type move. That was something, at least. The girl breathed out a steady puff of fire, much weaker than it had been even an hour ago. She was getting colder, and the colder she got, the harder it was to actually make the fire she needed.

But she couldn't back off! Not now. She had to be close to the ruins, according to every map she'd ever found... Well, they didn't tell her much. But they said the ruins she was looking for were near the top of the mountain, and she'd been climbing for hours! She couldn't be that far away from the top, and if she ran away from this, then what had been the point? She couldn't run away! Then she'd just prove herself right. If she ran away, she'd prove that she was weak and stupid, and not worthy of being on a team with Darcy, or being a thief, for that matter.

She needed these artifacts. It wasn't just a matter of want or pride. She needed to be stronger, and she needed to be smarter! If she wasn't, she could get someone hurt, or worse. She could get caught. She could hurt Darcy. A whole lot of bad things could happen if she didn't get her act together and get to the top.

Besides, what was the worst that cold could do to her? She began to half-walk, half-hop across the snow, trying her best to avoid the soreness and prickliness that the thick layer of it caused. Could snow burn? It was starting to feel like it could.

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Venusian

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PostSubject: Re: How Not to Freeze to Death   How Not to Freeze to Death EmptyThu Nov 12, 2020 8:11 pm

Here's a secret. Robin really fucking hated hail.

She didn't always. Snow had been a source of wonder, once upon a time. That was such a pretty sentence, wasn't it? Once upon a time. Once upon a time, there was a little girl who lived in a cozy little village in the woods. She played day in and out with her friends, laughing at the soft white blanket that coated the world, smoothing away all it's sharp edges. It was so beautiful, back then, the way it shimmered when the sunlight touched it, glowing pink and yellow in the sunrise.

She was eleven years old when she learned that beautiful things were deceptive. And Robin, she grew to embody that lesson in it's entirety.

... my next project will be on the ruins in Mt. Frostmeer, and my theories onto their potential history after studying them up close. It was a good cover story. It wasn't so odd for a researcher to want to visit some ruins. The truth of the matter was something darker still, but that was always the case with Robin, wasn't it? What was she, if not surface level smiles and a hollowed shell underneath?

Cursed treasures. Robin Pyralis was already cursed, had been since the day she was born. Deep in the mountaintop hid her salvation. A way to overwrite an ability, that's what the rumors said. And when you've hit rock bottom, well. It wouldn't make things worse to keep digging, and rock bottom had been Robin's home for a long time now. Might as well try to find a ladder while she's down here.

The snow crunched violently under her paws. One step at a time, nevermind how the hail battered her fur. She had to keep going. She had to. There was no other option. Don't acknowledge how the cold air nipped at her lungs when she breathed in deeply, just set her head forward and walk. Walk. Walk. The mountain would end eventually, and cold couldn't kill something like her.

Once upon a time, there was a little girl. She lived in a cozy village in the woods, and she loved snow. She played with the village children, and one day, she woke up to be informed that she destroyed everything that she touched.

Time to kill her once and for all.


Robin's Energy: 4
(26 - 22)

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PostSubject: Re: How Not to Freeze to Death   How Not to Freeze to Death EmptyThu Nov 12, 2020 9:07 pm

Alki's Energy: 20
(42 - 22)

The only way the snow and cold could get worse for Alki was if the snow started to attack her. At least, that's what it seemed like to her. A piece of ice, about the size of a Pecha berry, struck the base of her ear, prompting a small, sharp gasp of pain. Arceus, that wasn't pleasant. It wouldn't have hurt nearly as bad if it weren't for the fact that she felt like her whole body was freezing over. Maybe it was? Who could say? She'd never really experienced a snowfall this bad, nor had she ever fought an ice type, whom she knew could inflict a frozen status. This was all quite new to her. And she wished it had stayed new.

But... She'd come this far, hadn't she? She couldn't let a tiny bit of ice dissuade her, even if it did hurt, and even if there was more. But where had it come from? She couldn't recall experiencing any sort of hail on the way up. Maybe it was some sort of defense mechanism, from the ruins? There were stranger things out there, after all. Maybe some hostile ice type had spotted her, and was trying to force her away from the ruins? Or maybe it was just plain bad luck. It could be anything, really.

The base of her ear where the hail had struck her was beginning to grow numb. Her hands trembled as she cupped them around her mouth, breathing out another stream of fire. It sputtered in front of her, failing, then dying.

It was almost a metaphor for her! Without the dying part, anyways. Yet.

"I need shelter..." Alki stammered to herself, her voice sounding just as frigid and cold as she felt. She wasn't so stubborn as to fail to recognize the obvious. If she stayed out here for much longer, she could freeze. She wasn't an ice type, and she already felt abjectly miserable. She was probably going to have a cold for a long while after this.

She didn't particularly want to freeze to death. If only for the fact that she hadn't told Darcy where she was going, and if she froze here, Darcy would think she'd just upped and ran away, like all their previous teammates. She didn't want to do that to her.

"Who to ask for help..." She mumbled under her breath. Surely there had to be some ice type nearby. She couldn't find shelter on her own, and her cloak was hardly protecting her from the hail, which was already picking up in intensity.

"H-Hello...?" Alki called out into the snow and ice and hail, hoping someone would hear her. Someone nice. "I n-need h-help...!" All things considered, it'd be a miracle if anyone heard her. Her voice was stammering and shaky and soft, and probably wouldn't carry very far. Alki tilted her head up, mustering as much warmth from herself as possible, to shoot a breath of fire into the sky, another attempt to get someone, anyone, to notice her.

Maybe this trip hadn't been such a good idea.

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PostSubject: Re: How Not to Freeze to Death   How Not to Freeze to Death EmptyThu Nov 12, 2020 9:29 pm

Robin froze, statue still, as a tiny voice carried through the wind. She mind have brushed it off as a figment of her imagination, if not for a plume of fire that burst through the air. She took a long moment of weighing her options before biting her lip and changing course. Not without a hint of reluctance, and she felt bad for wishing she could carry on uninterrupted. She didn't feel like seeing anybody else right now. She wasn't sure how long she could keep herself together today.

And all traces of reluctance vanished when she saw that shivering face in the snow, wide blue eyes peering up at her as she came into focus. She recognized that feather. "A-Alki?" She stuttered in shock, only able to stare for a long moment. "What are you doing here?! This is a very dangerous dungeon to come to alone." She scolded her gently, and as she reached out a paw to touch the Jigglypuff's cheek, something in her broke.

Alki was cold. She was so cold, shivering and battered by the hail. Oh. Of course. How hadn't she realized it sooner? This was her fault, too. She was probably fine before Robin showed up with the hailstorm. The Vulpix laughed, low and sharp, feeling tears beginning to form in the corners of her eyes. It wasn't funny. She didn't know why she was laughing, and she turned away from Alki, twisting her laugh into something good-natured. As if she'd just told a joke, clear and bright as ringing bells.

As if anything about this was funny. The laugh tasted bitter as it left her mouth. She turned away so Alki couldn't see her eyes welling up, wiping her tears away on her own shoulder as subtly as she could. She was coming apart at the seams and she knew it. Robin couldn't live like this anymore. Everywhere she went, she hurt the people she cared about, didn't she?

"Heh. I guess I'm not one to talk." It wasn't funny, but it definitely passed as a joke. It took her only five seconds to force herself back under control, over a plastic smile back at the Jigglypuff. She needed shelter, or else she was going to die because of her. That much was easy to see. She swallowed hard, weighing her options, her thoughts running at a fevered pace even behind the fog clouding her mind.

"Still, you shouldn't have come here without an adult. Stay close to me. I'll get you to shelter, okay?" That was the least Robin could do to make it up for her. Even if the nearest shelter was... the ruins. She hated to take Alki there, but she wasn't an idiot. She needed shelter now, and they couldn't risk staying out in the cold any longer than they had to.

"Don't worry." Her voice fell to a quiet murmur, nuzzling the Jigglypuff's forehead before she turned to walk. Hopefully Alki found some comfort in the words, because they felt fake to Robin. "I'll get you out of here safely."

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Mada

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PostSubject: Re: How Not to Freeze to Death   How Not to Freeze to Death EmptyThu Nov 12, 2020 11:59 pm

Alki breathed out a small, miserable sigh of relief as she caught sight of a friendly face. What a small world, huh? Even in her current condition, she managed a small, half-smile at the sight of her friend. She felt a tiny bit safer, even though, all things considered, she was more or less in the same position as she had been before she'd seen Robin. But she was older than her, not to mention a lot smarter. Surely, she'd have some sort of idea to keep her safe! And even if she didn't, it was nice to have company...

The Jigglypuff's eyes lowered, as Robin began to scold her. She was right, of course. It was dangerous, and frankly, stupid to go alone. Especially as poorly dressed and poorly equipped as she was! But that was par for the course for Alki, wasn't it? And she couldn't just go back. She had to go alone! Any adult would've told her no. Darcy, kind as she was, wouldn't have understood. She would've said Alki was just fine the way she was, in the same kindly, sweet voice she always had. It was a nice sentiment. If only it were true.

"I h-had t-to..." Alki mumbled softly, shivering as she felt Robin's paw brush her cheek. She was an ice type, but even so, Alki was fairly sure Robin would be able to tell how cold she was. Alki brought the cloak closer around her, hoping it'd provide her some more warmth. She could hear Robin laughing, but about what, she didn't know. Not her, right? After what had happened in the coral forest, she didn't think Robin would laugh at her.

But what, then?

Alki shuffled, bouncing in place in an attempt to keep some warmth in her body. She shouldn't have come without an adult, Robin was right. But what was she to do? She needed what was in the ruins, and no adult would've let her come in the first place.

"T-Thank you..." Alki stammered, leaning on Robin's side, as the two walked. It wasn't too efficient, but Alki could feel the strength fading from her as she walked. Arceus, she needed a rest. Or maybe a nap. Or a fire. Yeah... Definitely a fire. "A-A-Are you h-here f-for the scouts, R-Robin...? S-Sorry. I p-probably won't be able to draw anything for you today..."

Mada carried out 1 launched of one Mt. Frostmeer :
How Not to Freeze to Death E2uq96A
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Mada carried out 1 launched of one Mt. Frostmeer :
How Not to Freeze to Death S1iNlSB

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Venusian

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PostSubject: Re: How Not to Freeze to Death   How Not to Freeze to Death EmptyFri Nov 13, 2020 9:43 pm

Oh, Alki. She was so sweet, and so foolish. "Yeah. Scout business." She had her cover story ready if she was prodded, but the details didn't seem important right now. How was she going to get her out of here? Robin had been too stupid to bring an escape orb. Just try to breathe, she reminded herself, squeezing her eyes shut. She'd ruined everything again. Arceus help her, she couldn't live like this anymore. She wished that she was a normal Vulpix, because she feared that huddling next to her was only making Alki colder. If only she'd been born a fire type. If only she hadn't been born at all.

Why did Alki have to come here? Robin bit her lip in concern, weighing whether or not to ask the question. A kid like her... probably didn't have a good home life, Robin was observant enough to clue onto that. Or maybe she just knew from experience. And her phrasing was concerning. Had to come here. For what? Had the thieves sent her here, or perhaps the real-world counterpart of that Skitty? Who had sent her out here alone? The thought sparked a dark, angry twinge in her chest.

She saw a lot of herself in Alki. A twist in her stomach brought up a... different idea, as to why the Jigglypuff had come here. She hadn't been here in search of the treasure, had she? It was funny, in that dark, twisted way, that Alki would make the exact same mistake she would. That couldn't be it, right? She glanced back at Alki, looking at those wide blue eyes, and Robin was more unsure than ever.

She was just projecting. Surely she was just overthinking things again. She was just... dared to come here or something, probably, by some other kid. That was it. Robin really hoped that was it.

"Don't worry about that." She soothed her gently instead of saying such things. If she was wrong - and she probably was wrong - she didn't want to say anything about the treasure and give Alki any bold ideas. Her voice held a rare trace of sternness. "I'm going to ask you to do something, and it might be difficult, but it's very important. Alki, you have to focus on not falling asleep until we get somewhere warm. Okay? I promise it's not far."

Robin hoped it wasn't far. But what's one more white lie at this point?

(Used 1 Apple, +5 energy)
Venusian carried out 9 launched of one Mt. Frostmeer :
How Not to Freeze to Death WbShVpM , How Not to Freeze to Death F4PRjPU , How Not to Freeze to Death UZS22JX , How Not to Freeze to Death 1e7hnvB , How Not to Freeze to Death TFBVbJk , How Not to Freeze to Death LMo6na8 , How Not to Freeze to Death N6itozJ , How Not to Freeze to Death YLxtrRF , How Not to Freeze to Death N6itozJ

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PostSubject: Re: How Not to Freeze to Death   How Not to Freeze to Death EmptySat Nov 14, 2020 12:35 am

Alki found herself second guessing whether she needed a fire or a nap more as she continued to walk. With each step she took, she found her feet growing heavier and heavier, and instead of walking atop the powder, she dragged her feet through it, only contributing to the numbness and strange, distant pain she felt in her limbs. Alki found her mind wandering to things that had no reason to be there. Well... Maybe they did. Mille's pancakes were hot, and she needed something hot. She'd never take them for granted again. Not that she did in the first place!

It was getting harder to walk. The jigglypuff found herself stumbling more and more often, and any sense of time passing she might have had was rapidly fading. An hour? Half an hour? Just how far away were the ruins? She'd been walking forever, and she could hardly feel the tips of her feet, or her arms, or her ears. Barely anything. Arceus, she wished she were a fire type. Or... Well, either type of Vulpix would work. If she were an ice type, she wouldn't be in this problem. If she were a fire type, she'd be warm wherever she went! And she wouldn't need a cursed item...

At the thought of fire types, the jigglypuff blew out another shaky breath of fire, which dissipated and evaporated almost as soon as it left her mouth, like a candle in the wind. She was freezing. She tried again, but no fire came. She could hear Robin's voice, distant and tense and stern. Oh. This was probably a lot of trouble for the Vulpix, wasn't it? Something about sleep?

"O-Ok..." Alki shivered, squeezing one of Robin's legs as tightly as she could (which wasn't very tight,) before stumbling onto the snow, attempting to stay awake, before falling to the ground, eyelids beginning to feel quite heavy. "I d-d-don't think I'm very good at t-that, though..." Alki stammered, her mind racing. Half of it was more than content to sleep,  to rest, and to not worry about this blasted cold any longer. But with how cold it was, and the worry Robin had already demonstrated, as well as her own knowledge of things...

If she fell asleep, would she wake back up...?

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PostSubject: Re: How Not to Freeze to Death   How Not to Freeze to Death EmptyWed Nov 18, 2020 4:01 pm

This wasn't good. Robin felt a faint, uncomfortable warmth as the Jigglypuff exhaled a puff of fire. The girl tried again, and nothing left her but a puff of air. She was getting weaker. Robin felt a trace of panic creeping through her stomach, worming it's way through her body until it finally settled as a knot in her throat. What did she do? She had to do something, she had to fix this - maybe an item? No, she only had a rainy orb. The hail was unpleasant, but wouldn't being wet make her feel even colder? There had to be something. There just had to be. Robin was just too much of an idiot to figure it out.

She'd swear in that heartbeat, the snow fell even heavier, and she heard laughter on the wind.

"You have to. It's very, very important, Alki." Robin urged her none too gently, crouching down next to her in the snow. "You can hop on my back, I think you're light enough that I can carry you. And I have some extra bands in my bag, okay? You can borrow them to bundle up a little bit." Even reasoning to herself that it had to be better than nothing, it felt like a joke. She felt like a joke. Two bands would barely do anything for the girl. Maybe the placebo effect would kick in? Did that even apply here? Robin didn't know, she just had to try something.

Her mind felt so infuriatingly empty, every idea unable to penetrate through the fog in her mind, only one idea facing her at every corner. This is was her fault. This is what she does. This is what she is, this is what she brought to everyone you thought you loved. The world would be better off if Robin was the one freezing instead. She could have laughed, her face curling into a bitter smile. It wasn't funny.

How could she keep Alki awake? Maybe if she could keep her talking? Give her anything to focus on besides sleeping and the cold. "Hey, Alki." Robin chimed, her voice soft below the howling wind. "That Skitty was your sister, right? Why don't you tell me about her?" Her tone was calm and gentle and perfectly still. It was a mask she wore well.


Robin's Energy: 0

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PostSubject: Re: How Not to Freeze to Death   How Not to Freeze to Death EmptyWed Nov 18, 2020 10:58 pm

Alki, at the Vulpix's suggestion, clambered onto Robin's back, reach into her bag, and huddled the two bands close to her chest. They didn't do much for warmth, but it was better than nothing, she supposed. Honestly, the fact she didn't have to walk anymore was a much bigger help than the two small bands. Sure, Robin was an ice type, and she was somewhat cold, but it was better than the snow, by a fair bit.  And she didn't have to trudge through the heavy powder, and she could finally close her eyes, just for a bit...

Hey, Alki, Robin's voice emerged from beneath the snow, her voice far too calm for Alki' liking. It'd just be a nap! She'd be fine! If anything, she was starting to feel a tiny bit warmer. Maybe it was placebo? She was getting hotter fast though. And why did she want to learn about Darcy right now anyways? Was now the time...? Not that she minded an opportunity to talk about Darcy all too much. It was just odd. "D-Darcy...?" Alki stammered, closing her eyes in thought, before they shot wide open once again, just as quickly. Bad idea. "Y-Y-Yeah, I d-d-don't... m-mind, um..." Alki trailed off, shivering as she racked her empty mind for ideas on what to actually say about her. "S-She's g-great, y-y'know? I... she adopted me w-when I r-r-ran away, a-and... W-Well, I... d-d-don't know w-why, b-but she r-really likes me... A-A-And c-cares f-for me..." Alki trailed off, taking a second to readjust her cloak,  forcing her eyes to remain open. She was feeling hotter and hotter, all of a sudden. Weird, huh? She placed the bands back into Robin's bag, quietly sneaking them back in. Was she feeling better? Part of her wanted to think so, but another part recognized that there had to be something wrong, something going on. The bands weren't that warm. And she was feeling more and more tired by the second. "D-D-Do y-you remember how she spoke? S-She h-has a f-funny little accent. L-L-Like a d-drawl... I t-think i-it's c-cute. Y'all. Heh."

Arceus, she was getting hot. The balloon pokemon fell silent, quietly working on removing the cloak from her back. She was really, really hot, and as weird as she found it, it was undeniable that she was. Maybe it was flamethrower? Odd, but it was welcome. She found her eyes closing as she placed the cloak inside Robin's bag as well, then wrapping her arms around the Vulpix's neck. "T-Thanks, R-R-Robin..." She mumbled quietly, her eyelids growing heavier and heavier as time went on.

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PostSubject: Re: How Not to Freeze to Death   How Not to Freeze to Death EmptyThu Nov 19, 2020 12:25 am

God damn it, why had she asked about her sister. Great idea, Robin. The Vulpix blinked back the tears as she walked. Funny, Alki barely weighed anything. The fox Pokemon made a quick pace, her head down, trying to ignore the knot in her throat. "Y-yeah. I remember that." She answered, stuttering for a very different reason than the cold.

She felt Alki rummaging around, and turned her head to see- oh no. Why was she putting it away? Unless- no, Robin knew why, she wasn't quite that dumb. "Alki! Put your cloak back on, right now!" Robin scolded, a note of panic rising under her strict words. She wasn't just cold, she was dying. What did she do? What could she do? Wasn't that one of the last things people with hypothermia did before they die-

Robin only broke out into a run, throwing up snow in her wake. The ruins, where were the goddamn ruins? Where was anything? She'd crested a hill to see nothing but snow, vast and white and blinding for as far as her eye could see. "No," She'd muttered. She could feel herself unraveling, feel the strings that held her together snapping against the strain. This was happening. Alki was going to die, and it was all her fault.

"No, no no no no no-" She chanted as if it was a spell, tears welling up in full force. If Robin hadn't brought the hail, she would have been fine. She would have been fine, and able to go home to her sister, her sister who loved her, and now Robin would have to face her and admit that her sister was dead because of her, and-

- no, she would never admit it, she was too much of a coward for that -

"P-please stay awake, please stay awake-" She wasn't scolding her now, the Vulpix was begging, in full force, acutely aware of how high-pitched and strained her voice sounded. Remembered the teenager when she was 12 who said she had the most annoying, squeaky voice, repeating her own words back at her in a nasally, annoying imitation of herself. This had to be another nightmare. Please, dear Arceus, be another nightmare.

"Alki, this is, it's really important, if you want to see your sister again you can't- you can't go to sleep, okay?" Why couldn't her legs move faster? Robin was pushing through the pain, running as fast as she could, but the snow didn't stop. It never stopped, stretching on for miles, without a soul in sight. No wonder she had been hated so much, that voice in her mind hissed, if this destruction was what she brought to that little village she was born in.

The hail only rained down harder.

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PostSubject: Re: How Not to Freeze to Death   How Not to Freeze to Death EmptyThu Nov 19, 2020 12:56 am

Alki's grip around the Vulpix's neck tightened, for all that meant. Her grip was clammy and weak and distant. She supposed that was natural, given she couldn't feel them anymore. Some small whisper in the back of her head, unaffected by the cold, knew exactly what was going on, but it was too afraid to put it into words, to allow Alki to say it out loud. They hadn't gotten to the shelter in time, had they? She couldn't feel anything anymore, except this strange mixture of heat and cold, of a burning frost. She could hear Robin, off in the distance. Oh. She was afraid. Worried for her. That made sense.

But it was just a nap! She'd be fine!

She was dying.

Alki tried to keep her eyelids open, but the more she tried, the heavier they felt. She had no energy left. But... Oh. She shouldn't have found Robin. Now she was going to die on her, wasn't she? And Robin would blame it on herself, but it wasn't her fault. She'd done everything she could to save her, hadn't she? She should've gone off in some different direction, not called out for help...

Well, really, she shouldn't have come here at all. But she had. Because she was stupid. And if that wasn't proof that she didn't deserve to be a guild member, then what was?

Alki heard Robin, in the distance, mention her sister. A brief flash of cognizance reawakened in her. Darcy wouldn't find her, would she? Unless... Would Robin carry her all the way back? She shouldn't. That'd be... heavy.  She wouldn't want that, but Darcy wouldn't ever see her again... She did want to see Darcy again. She very, very much wanted to see Darcy again. But when had life ever given her what she wanted?

"S-Sorry," She whispered to Robin, as strong as she could manage, but it didn't amount to much, just like her. She repeated it, over and over again, under her breath. The Jigglypuff made an attempt to exhale another puff of flame, anything to keep cold, but nothing emerged from her. Karma was catching up to her, wasn't it? It was bound to, eventually, given how much of a bad and useless person she'd been for... Well, always. She wished it'd hurry up.

"T-Thanks for t-t-trying, R-Robin," She managed to say, before finally giving in, and allowing her eyes to fall shut. She wanted to say more. A lot more, to a lot of people. But she didn't have the energy, or the time. Her grip on the Vulpix's neck weakened as her body slumped forward, for the time being, asleep.

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PostSubject: Re: How Not to Freeze to Death   How Not to Freeze to Death EmptyThu Nov 19, 2020 2:37 am

Sorry. Over and over again. Sorry. Sorry. Sorry, ringing around Robin's skull, sounding weaker every time she said it. What good was 'sorry'? What was she going to tell Darcy, 'sorry'? It wasn't anywhere close to making things right! Robin's voice bordered on hysterical, feeling the last shreds of control slipping through her fingers. "Don't you dare." She managed, her voice ragged and shredded. "Don't do this to me."

And she couldn't help but laugh, shattered and distant, about just how pathetic and selfish she sounded. That's all she would ever be, wasn't it? She- she... her legs finally gave out as a distant howl split the air. Robin couldn't find the will to look up. She brokenly buried her face in her paws, trying to wrap her cloak around Alki's unconscious form like a blanket. She was breathing, but shallow and quick, and Robin knew... she knew. She swallowed hard, shaking her head, far too aware of how pathetic she looked.

There was nothing around her but snow.

"Alki, please, no, you have to wake back up. What am I going to tell Darcy?" She begged, hoping that the mention of her sister would spark something to life. Some hidden shred of strength, or motivation, or will, or something. But there was no miracle for Robin. The Jigglypuff slept on, looking ever so peaceful, and feeling ever so cold.

She, she was alive, technically, Robin had to keep moving, she had to just-

She turned to start running again, and the world fell away below her, casting Robin into darkness. She fell roughly to the ground, jagged rocks slicing at her fur. It didn't matter. This was a cave or something, right? It was still frigid, but it had to be warmer, and maybe if Robin could scrape together enough to make a fire, then maybe Alki would wake up again, and-

A slow clap came from the darkness. A figure floated closer, but there was no sound of footsteps to break the silence. It only stayed, ominous and tense, until the sunlight finally illuminated the stranger's face. "Beautiful." The Froslass hummed, still clapping. "Simply a beautiful performance, love."

Robin only watch in dead silence as the stranger approached. The wind howled ever loudly as the Froslass' Blizzard surrounded her, cloaking even the tiny pink figure in a freezing white haze. The Vulpix still did not move, only staring brokenly at the ground. "What do you want." She finally managed, her voice numb with grief.

The Froslass offered a sad smile. "Only for you to have a peaceful rest." But the wind and hail did not lift, pelting the still-motionless Vulpix. It didn't seem so bad, in that moment, if she followed Alki. One last way to run from her responsibilities, right? She'd always been a coward. Even if Alki thought otherwise, though she was intelligent and capable and kind, she wasn't. She never was.

The was no kindness to be found here, either, as Robin slowly absorbed her surroundings. All around her were ice sculptures, neatly lined against the walls. Some distant part of her recognized them. A Stufful, a Drampa, a Stantler, a Magneton... dozens of them, each expression twisted into despair and fear. Not even ice types like herself were spared from the grim display, Robin realized quietly, staring into the dead eyes of a Bergmite.

She could read the writing on the wall. These hadn't always been sculptures, and she was about to join them.

"No." Robin finally answered very, very softly. The pink body beside her was still ice-cold as she heaved herself to her feet, which felt like an act of Herculean willpower in and of itself. Her smile was brittle, her voice breaking over every word, but as she repeated herself, her voice was at least steady enough to force a sentence. "No. I don't think I can do that. No rest for the wicked, right?"

A blast of darkness sliced through the frozen air, leaving a shockwave behind and clearing out the snow where it had trekked past. And then another, and another, and yet again, each one brimming with sorrow and outrage, a broken laugh leaving Robin's mouth as she fired again, and again, and again, and-

The Froslass had fallen silent. Robin still didn't stop firing, Dark Pulse after Dark Pulse slicing through the frigid air. She'd heard her attack described as "a horrible aura filled with dark thoughts", and maybe they were onto something. It had never been this powerful when she used it before, and now she had 'dark thoughts' to spare. She prepared to fire yet another, slamming her foot against the ground with all the force of rage and grief, and-

She felt a furry body gently leaning next to hers. Robin froze in shock to see a Stoutland standing firmly beside her. "You can stop now, kid." A deep female voice said gently. "You're too young to be a murderer."

"I am the murderer!" She howled back hysterically. The veil was gone, and tears were rolling down her face again, her voice strangled as she tried to speak. "She was- she was fine! She would have been fine! And then I had to show up, and ruin everything, and I brought the hail and I froze her and-" The Stoutland cut her off by leaning against her firmly, letting Robin bury her face in her shoulder as she cried. It was the closest that a pair of quadrupeds could come to a hug.

"She's still breathing. Your friend will be okay, we'll get her somewhere safe. You can calm down." The stranger offered her consolations, and Robin was acutely aware, in that moment, of just how pathetic she was, sobbing into a stranger's shoulder. She forced herself back, still sniffling, as a little Lillipup with a bag bundled to his side romped past her.

Robin laughed, low and broken. "That's what I promised her." She managed to say, the Stoutland offering her another hug. She was too weak to turn away. She could only hope this pokemon was stronger than she was. She gathered up the fallen Jigglypuff in her fur, holding the frozen girl close.

The Lilllipup's voice was very, very quiet. "No survivors, grandma." He managed, his voice barely reaching over the wind. "I checked all the statues. They're gone." Robin kept her back turned, not strong enough to inquire as to how he'd 'checked'.

The Stoutland gave her grandson a nuzzle. "But there are survivors. You did good tonight." She reminded him, finally meeting Robin's vacant stare with a sad smile. "This is no place for a kid like her to see. Let's get out before she wakes up." Robin only nodded slightly to that, still unable to process the idea that she would wake up.

She wasn't sure she would fully believe it until Alki did.

The pair tried to strike up a conversation a couple times, but Robin had little to offer, only answering their questions at the most basic level. She had frozen back over, for all intents and purposes. It was only a five minute walk until the pair had guided her to a sheltered cave, Alki still tucked against the older pokemon's warm fur. The Lillipup had unraveled the bundle of tinder from his bag, and his grandmother set it alight with a Fire Fang.

The little den they were in could... almost pass as comfortable, armed with blankets and emergency rations, complete with a nook to shield them from the cold and books to pass the time.

Robin only stared listlessly, silently, into the fire. That was all she would do until Alki woke up, the two canines occasionally checking on her to monitor her condition.

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PostSubject: Re: How Not to Freeze to Death   How Not to Freeze to Death EmptyThu Nov 19, 2020 4:34 am

It was funny, the kind of dreams one had when one was freezing to death. One would think they'd be rather miserable, given the state your body was in. Cold dreams, nightmares, maybe of the dark, of the void, but it wasn't. Her first dream had been back at the guild. It all felt so real, except it wasn't. She knew it wasn't, but the coziness of the guild, and of her sister's fur felt quite welcome after the frigidness of the snow and the hail and the ice. She wondered how Robin could be so unaffected by it, but she supposed it wasn't something that mattered anymore.

There she was! Reading a book by the fireplace, although she couldn't quite manage to see the cover. "Oh, Hi, Alki," The Skitty said, her voice low and subdued, distant, albeit just as warm as she remembered it. "Leaving already?" The Skitty looked up at her, the fireplace illuminating her from behind. Strange. The guild seemed a lot more empty than she remembered it. Was Darcy crying?

She'd really messed up, hadn't she?

"I... t-t-t-think I am..." The Jigglypuff stammered, tapping her hands together, trying her best to not cry in turn. "I d-don't want to, but I think I g-gotta..." Alki took the Skitty's paw in her hand, feeling a strange sort of solidness in it. Even though she knew this wasn't real, it sure felt like it. It hurt like it was real, too. This was the closest she was going to get to ever seeing Darcy again, wasn't it?

"I love you, Darcy. R-Really," Alki stammered, unable to hold herself back from crying. It didn't feel fair. She wanted to do something with herself! She'd never even learned to read, or graduate from school, or do... anything.

"I'm... really happy I met you, Darcy. You made my life a m-million times better, and... I-I'm sorry to leave..." She gave the kitten pokemon one final hug, closing her eyes, trying to take in as much of Darcy as possible. The way she felt, warm, but not burning, as she had felt in the snow. She smelled clean, her fur like a blend of Pecha berries and lavender. She could hear Darcy's sniffling, as well as her own, and her mouth tasted bitter, like coffee without any sugar. Strong coffee.

She didn't feel ready, and it didn't feel fair. But there wasn't anything anyone could do for her anymore.

"I love ya too, Alki," Darcy said, her voice fading, and Alki's mind beginning to go black. "And we'll meet again, alright?"

Her voice faded. Then Darcy did. Only the fire was left, before that, too, disappeared.

"nnnnnn..." Alki groaned, stirring, as her eyes creaked open. The light was bright. Way too bright, and she squeezed her eyes back shut, like she did in the mornings, when she really didn't want to go to school. She caught sight of a pokemon, a rather large one, too. Was this some sort of afterlife? She didn't feel ready to check. She didn't feel very dead though.

She felt warm. Like she had with Darcy. But that Pokemon definitely wasn't Darcy, and this definitely wasn't the guild. She felt the aftereffects of Frostbite on... pretty much all her extremities, but her feet most particularly. She could feel her head clearing from the effects of hypothermia, although her headache was still very real, and very present. All of this had been real. It hadn't been a dream.

"Did she say something?" Alki heard a voice, a new one, but not unkind. Worried. A friend of Robin's? Some kind stranger? Whoever it was, another voice accompanied it, kind and gentle as well.

"Shush. She'll wake up when she's ready." It whispered.

She didn't feel ready to wake up. If she did, she'd have to face Robin, and... What did you say to someone, after you almost died in front of them? But she couldn't play dead forever. ...There was a phrase, huh? Play dead? She very nearly had been.

Still feeling quite weak, and more than a bit miserable, Alki finally stirred, trying to prop herself up into a sitting position, despite the complaints of her frozen limbs. Something at her side, and as her eyes creaked open a second time, a stranger's beaming face was beside her, helping her, warming her. A lillipup. Alki managed a hollow, empty smile. She mumbled her thanks, before turning back to the fire, her smile disappearing. Her eyes were distant and afraid.

She'd almost died. What was she supposed to say? Thanks? That felt so empty and meaningless, especially considering it had been her own stupidity that had prompted all this in the first place. Her fault. Her fault entirely.

"Y-Y-You... Y-You g-guys saved my l-life, d-didn't y-you...?" Alki shivered, a remnant of the cold, but something else, too. She clutched the pile of blankets, holding them up to her eyes, her body trembling once more, like a child who had just awoken from a nightmare.

In a manner of speaking, she had.

"I-I'm s-sorry Robin..." Alki managed to stammer, her voice hardly audible over the crackling of the fire. She felt herself begin to cry in earnest, tears beginning to fall down her face. What else was she supposed to say? The Jigglypuff could hardly focus on anything besides the cold she'd just felt, and then the burning, the hazy sleepiness that had befallen her, and now this? It felt like too much. It was too much.

Her vision was blurred with tears, before she managed to glance up at the only Pokemon she hadn't addressed. A large stoutland was gazing at her, a sad smile on her face. "T-Thank you," Alki said, before her gaze lowered, staring at something beyond the crackling fire.

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PostSubject: Re: How Not to Freeze to Death   How Not to Freeze to Death EmptyThu Nov 19, 2020 5:01 am

The Lillipup deflated in relief when she finally stirred awake, but Robin could only stare into the fire. How did she answer that? No problem? Even Robin wasn't that much of a liar. She was distantly aware of her paws shaking. She didn't know why she was shaking. "It's not your fault." She said instead, her voice flat. For once in her life, Robin was too emotionally exhausted to pretend.

The Stoutland only watched stoically, while the Lillipup smiled a bit bashfully, filling the silence. "'s no problem. This is just what we do." He explained, tucking himself a bit farther under his own blanket. "This mountain's a real brutal place. This is just our way of making it a little bit better." He offered, holding out a paw towards Alki in an awkward attempt at a handshake. "M'name's Russell."

"Robin." The Vulpix echoed. Had she said her name already? She was pretty sure she hadn't. It was hard to tell through the fog. Huh... when had the Stoutland left? She looked around the campfire to see it was only the three of them. Hell. She was in pretty bad shape, huh. Robin was self-aware enough to realize that.

Russell gave her a polite nod and his best smile. "After y'all warm up, we can escort you back home. 'fraid we don't have any fancy escape orbs, though, so we're gonna have to make the trek the old-fashioned way."

"No." Came that hollow voice from Robin. "I'm sorry, and thank you so, so much for saving Alki. But I can't turn back yet. There's something I need to do here." Russell fell into a confused silence, looking somewhat puzzled as he tried to figure out the most polite way to ask why.

He took a seat by the fire again, a frown creasing his face. "We won't stop you, but I can't advise you to carry on, ma'am. You two went through the wringer. Whatever you're looking for, it'll still be there another day. Mountain's not going anywhere, it's been like this since grandma was a pup 'erself."

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PostSubject: Re: How Not to Freeze to Death   How Not to Freeze to Death EmptyThu Nov 19, 2020 7:04 pm

Alki gently took the Lillipup's paw, and gave it a small, timid shake, the faintest trace of a polite smile on her face, before she turned back to the fire once more. Russell. That was a nice name. It took her more than a few seconds to realize that she knew someone named Russell, but he was very distant, and she was unable to think of much more about him than that fact. His name was Russell. Everyone seemed, and felt, distant, except that image of Darcy that endured in her mind. She cared so much for her and had done so much to keep Alki safe and keep her happy, and she had almost thrown that away, hadn't she?

How stupid was she?

"M-M'name's Alki," The girl sniffed, rubbing at her eyes, before she found herself sneezing once, twice, three times. She still felt miserable, and though she was still wrapped in a number of blankets, it was still difficult for her to shake the cold that had invaded her whole body for the past... How long had she been in the snow?

"R-Robin's right..." Alki stammered, nodding at the Lillipup. "W-We c-can't go home y-yet, I d-don't think. T-There's... s-something we gotta d-do, and we... W-We g-got this far, didn't we?"

She felt like an idiot just saying that. She hadn't done anything. Anything besides almost die. But she needed the items, and she had a feeling that Robin was here for very similar reasons. "I-It's important..." She added lamely, before succumbing to another series of loud, miserable sneezes. Hopefully the Lillipup would believe her. Hopefully they'd allow it. And hopefully, she wouldn't come to regret it.

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